CHAPEL HILL – Adrienne Motley wasn’t about to let Miami waste a great offensive performance against another top-10 team.
The freshman guard scored a career-high 27 points, including a series of clutch jump shots down the stretch, to help the Hurricanes upset No. 6 North Carolina, 83-80.
Miami (12-10, 4-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) led by as many as 19 in the first half before watching that lead – and its upset hopes – dwindle as the Tar Heels (17-5, 5-3) briefly went ahead early in the second.
For Motley, it was an all-too-familiar feeling coming off a game in which Miami led No. 3 Duke by double figures in the first half only to lose on a last-second free throw.
“(Saturday) we worked on finishing,” Motley said. “We had a mindset that we were going to come and we were going to win the game. We just had to seal the deal.”
Motley hit big shot after big shot to prevent UNC from going ahead late, making 5 of 6 field-goal attempts in the second half and 10 of 14 overall.
Keyona Hayes, who finished with 14 points, had some clutch moments, too, including a second-chance layup that put the Hurricanes up 75-71 with a minute to go.
Miami, which came in 13th in the ACC in field-goal percentage, shot 57 percent against the league’s top field-goal percentage defense. That shooting clip helped overcome 21 turnovers and UNC’s 28 offensive rebounds that produced 24 second-chance points.
“It’s taken a long while, but I like my talent,” Miami coach Katie Meier said. “It’s just a matter of there are certain things we need to do to win a basketball game. If we score 83, we’re going to win a lot of basketball games.”
The Hurricanes’ hot shooting produced a 22-4 run that gave them a 38-19 lead with eight minutes to go in the first half. During that spurt, UNC had just one field goal in a seven-minute span.
But the Tar Heels answered by closing the half with a 15-2 run of their own and trailed 42-36 at halftime. UNC took a one-point lead twice in the opening minutes of the second half and stayed close, including a tie with 2:16 to play.
“We knew this would be an up-and-down game, a really athletic game,” Meier said. “I thought we had to be a team that could handle runs, and I really talked to my team about shot selection and answering. For a while there, we were just going back and forth.”
Xylina McDaniel and Diamond DeShields had 18 points each for the Tar Heels, but Miami held star freshman DeShields to 8-for-24 shooting.
“We’re known for playing defense,” said McDaniel. “For us to not really have that great of a defensive game, that really hurt us.”
North Carolina honored its 1994 national championship team at halftime to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the program’s only title. Head coach Sylvia Hatchell, who has missed the entire season while being treated for leukemia, joined her team for the ceremony.